Rattlesnake Ledge

Staycation continues!  It’s not been easy.  Being at home, I see so much that needs to be tended to: the garden at Ocean Shores needed to be weeded and trimmed last weekend,  the sidewalks outside the condo in Seattle needed to be swept, the bushes and trees needed clipping (since I am the elected HOA Gardener, this task falls on me!), and the closets and drawers at the condo needed to be gone through, purged, and organized!  Oh, did I just notice windows that need to be cleaned?  STOP!!

And this week two of my subs needed coverage.  Oh, dear!  I am not scheduled to go back to work until Wednesday, May 30. That WILL be my first day back to work.  I have been asked to review a book, to teach a private session, and to have meetings, etc….but, I am determined to have a Staycation, no matter what!

I will resume teaching on Wednesday, May 30.

So today I walked away from all these interior distractions and went on a hike with my hiking-buddy, Leslie, to Rattlesnake Ledge. The forecast called for 60% chance of rain yesterday. It was upped to 90% today.  And it RAINED.  Within minutes, we were soaked.

chipmunk at the rattlesnake ledge. he could fit in the palm of my hand and was incredibly cute!

As we hiked, I thought we’d not run into a single other hiker.  However, to my surprise, we ran across a number of very cheerful northwest Washington hikers.  To my annoyance, they were smiling, all geared up for the rain.  One woman with her gigantic smile that had to be REAL and her two happy dogs said, “Hey, it’s Washington! Gotta love it!!”  I know, sounds like a commercial. The thing is, she really meant it.  Rain Rain Rain!

socked in!

On the drive up, Leslie and I were aghast to see snow flakes hitting the window shield as we neared the mountains. “Is that snow?”  (May 23!!)  “I’m not sure what you call it!  Snow shavings? God, yes, it’s snow.” Nonetheless, we bravely forged on with our two hour hike and vowed, later, never to be so brave as to hike in pouring NW Washington rain again.  Not in rain like that!  It’s a bit insane, you know?

socked in, but beautiful! this is a rain forest…

Oh, and while I was hiking in the Bavarian Alps, there was a ghastly murder here in Washington state. Leslie told me all about it as we hiked.  I got really freaked out.  A survivalist man built a secret bunker right here in the dense rain forest at Rattlesnake Ledge.  It took him a few years to build the bunker.  He filled the bunker with guns and rifles.  All loaded.  On the day I left for Europe, he killed his wife and daughter in their city home,  set their house on fire, and escaped to his bunker hold-out at some hidden place in the forest here.  The house fire was put out right away and the murders discovered.  The search for the insane survivalist began.  His computer hardware was unharmed during the fire, so specialists found photos of his bunker and figured out the location vicinity.  A search began.  Meanwhile, an innocent hiker, full of dreams, unknowingly ran into the killer survivalist and asked him for advice!  The hiker was about to propose marriage to his girlfriend and was looking for the perfect spot. “Are you a local?  Can you recommend a spot?”  The killer recommended some places for the perfect proposal.  Later that evening, the innocent hiker saw the killer’s face on TV and discovered that his “local guy” was the killer at large! The killer most likely committed suicide after the innocent hiker encounter and was found dead in his bunker that night!  Talk about creeped out!  Right after I heard the story, as we were hiking, some faster hiker would pass us up (I told you there were other hikers out enjoying the heavy rainfall!) and I kept wondering if the red backpack I just saw was filled with armed guns or a pack of cement ready for a bunker.  My imagination can really take off at times and today was one of those times.  Eventually, I got over my paranoia and jumpiness and simply enjoyed the socked-in hike!

a forest so dense that the rain is diffused

Looking at these photos, you’d never know how drenched and socked in we were!

Leslie on the trail

I absolutely love this description Leslie found on line of our hike today!  We did not get the fabulous views described below because we were practically touching the clouds.  Still, despite my rain complaints, it was a fabulous hike.  Green green green.  Fresh air.  Movement, breathing!  Truly, a NW rainforest experience!

You won’t find better views anywhere else this close to Seattle. Rattlesnake Ledge is a monolithic block of rock on the eastern end of Rattlesnake Ridge, towering high over the cool waters of Rattlesnake Lake and the Snoqualmie River valley. Looking up from the trailhead, the site is daunting–the rock face looks sheer and impregnable. Fortunately, the cliff face isn’t too broad, and hearty Washington Trails Association volunteers have carved a path through the steep forests flanking the rock face. Indeed, the original trail, which was daunting in its own right, has been largely replaced with a new, more secure pathway.

From the parking lot, round the gate and walk the old road 0.25 mile to a grassy swath on the west side of Rattlesnake Lake. A well-signed path leads off to the right. The rebuilt trail climbs steeply from the get-go, gaining more than 1000 feet in just over 1.5 miles. Of course, the old trail made that gain in just 1 mile, so please keep the complaints to a minimum as you slog up the switchbacks. Those new hairpin turns add a little distance to the hike, but they also level the trail a tad, making it a bit easier on the thighs.

After a seemingly endless upward march, you’ll suddenly burst out of the forest onto the snout of the rock ledge. The views are unbelievable. Peer southeast into the rarely seen Cedar River watershed, with Chester Morse Lake dominating the close-in scenery. This big lake supplies Seattle with a significant portion of its drinking water. The rest of the watershed is filled with untrammeled forest–the watershed is closed to most human access to ensure that the water remains uncontaminated. Look farther east and you’ll see the peaks leading to Snoqualmie Pass and, of course, massive Mount Si is just across the valley.

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